New York Lawmakers Seek to Create a Gentrification Tax (Tax on White Property Purchasers)

Friday, January 3, 2020
By Paul Martin

Paul Kersey
January 3, 2020

Let’s just call it the white tax and be done with it.[City lawmakers want to impose gentrification tax, New York Post, December 26, 2019]:

Here’s one thing that unites local pols across the political divide — a gentrification tax.

A bipartisan group of city lawmakers is pushing Albany to approve tweaks to the state tax laws that would allow them to hit new homebuyers with tax bills based on the actual market prices of their properties.

The coalition of 13 Republican and Democratic city council members says that taxes would not go up for existing owners.

New York’s famously opaque property tax system offers big breaks to new homebuyers by taxing them at assessed values that are often millions of dollars less than the market price.

For instance, a buyer who snapped up a Clinton Hill brownstone for $3 million in 2017 only has to pay taxes on a sliver of that amount — $24,000, leaving the lucky owner with a tax bill of just $4,297 a year.

Meanwhile, the owner of a relatively modest half-million-dollar Bergen Beach bungalow pays nearly an identical amount, despite being worth just one-sixth the price on the market.

The current system amounts to a giant giveaway for gentrifiers, Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli told The Post.

“People are just getting fed up with the loophole, and they’re demanding action,” the GOP politician added.

The bipartisan coalition also includes Park Slope Democrat Brad Lander and Bay Ridge Democrat Justin Brannan.

They’re backing a resolution that calls on state lawmakers to change the tax law to require new homebuyers to pay property taxes on the market rate instead of the heavily discounted assessed value.

The change would boost the Clinton Hill gentrifiers bill by $1,600 a year while keeping the Bergen Beach old timer’s costs the same.

“Borelli’s plan to reset the tax cap whenever a new owner purchases a property would bring a small drop of fairness to a system that is just completely screwed and totally unfair,” Brannan said.

Borelli sent the proposed resolution to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie earlier this month with a letter asking for the change.

Reps for Heastie did not return calls.

Johnson’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Fermino, said, the speaker is awaiting the preliminary report from a property tax reform commission he convened with Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2018.

“The Advisory Commission is looking at Real Property Tax Law 1805 as part of its review of our broken system,” Fermino added. “Any recommendations for changes will be part of the commission’s preliminary report. The Speaker is looking forward to reviewing their recommendations when the report is ready.

There’s no deadline for the initial tax overhaul report, which has been reportedly near release since July.

The Rest…HERE

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